Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brahmi - Miracle Brain Herb ?

I've been growing Brahmi in water pots and as a pond edging for a couple of years now, and have recently listed it on eBay. It's getting some interest, with a lot of people having a look.
I'm going to try linking to a site with a lot of interesting information about this age-old herb. This newbie blogger doesn't quite know where to put these links yet, so patience may be needed here. I think that maybe they go over to the right hand side of the page ? If I can't get it right I'll post the info next time...

Long used in Ayurvedic medicine, it seems some of the claims about it's ability to improve memory, and restore lost cognitive skills, reduce anxiety - and a lot more besides, have now been substantiated by scientific studies.
It appears that effects are noticed after about 8-12 weeks of taking the herb, either fresh, or as a supplement. The desired dose is about 30g fresh herb

It really does look beautiful in a water pot, even if you never use it for it's claimed benefits.

Chickpeas # Chilli & Star Anise Pork

Dinner was pork cooked in a way I think is common to the Phillipines and to China. I don't think I'm being all that authentic in my translation when I cook it, but it's delicious. Pork cubes are braised in a mixture of dark & light soy, palm sugar, star anise, cinnamon sticks and lots of garlic. I put a little water in to stop it getting too thick before the meat is tender.
It makes this dark thick glaze that is just lovely.

It is rich, so I made chickpeas with tomato, chilli, garlic, chopped boy-choy & fresh turmeric to offset it. That only took about 5 minutes in a small pan on the stove-top.

You can hardly see the greens at all in the chickpeas above, they shrink down to nothing when you cook them. Miffy seemed impressed to know that a goodly serving of Asian greens can provide up to 75% of the RDI of calcium. Not bad for a vegetable.

I was going to do rice but everyone wanted rotu telur. The frozen roti from the Asian grocer are great, but nothing like the real thing. However... I cook it on one side, in a lightly greased pan, crack an egg over the top, lightly break it, and add some slivers of red onion and a bit of salt. Flip it over, and cook until the egg is cooked. Miffy and Eric always order roti telur along with their roti cani when we go to Malaysia. I prefer mine plain, but then I've never been a huge egg fan. Eggs = windy tummy for me...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Myfanwy, the 17 year old expert on everything.

I said my sense of humour was "quirky". Myfanwy said it was "unfunny".
The beautiful baby has grown into her Mother's biggest critic. I wish she was still drawing rabbits called Miffy.

I know my first posting was a bit lame but...

There really were ants in the kitchen - again. It doesn't seem to matter how much I wipe up, or how careful I am, one little molecule of anything edible, and they're marching all over the window sill near the sink. I felt like I was in some kind of Olde Worlde nightmare, where the donkey lived in the lounge and you shared your bed with 6 family members and a pig.
Yes Ma, this blog is supposed to be about Asian herbs, and Asian food, but I'm shy...
It was easier to come out as Mistress Turnip.

There are ants in the kitchen again...

And Mistress Turnip did rent, and tear her breast for was not this home once again beseiged with the vermin ? Verily, there be the walking and the insect of the air, to be bespoiling their meagre vittals. Had she not strewn the erbs ? lady's bedstraw, and the sage. Was not antimony in her bucket for the seething she laboured as her back did break'd , to no good, as nay, the vermin scurried fast from her approaching clothe.
Mistress, thou dear Lord's handmaiden, thyst erstwhile defender of the hovel of Turnip and those who reside within.....
Cast thou eye, near and into all dim recess of the hovel of Turnip. See not bespoke clothe for the adornment of its benche for sitting. Nor fyne platter for dyning. Be that Master Turnip ? Slump'd, the empty porter jug, his mind gone where the ale may take him, slave to the ale, it be his mistress and his succour. Long despair'd , he toils little, and moans for a life not his liking. Mistress Turnip, her heart big, doth sigh, could not she, herself, a rare beauty in her girlhood, of ruddy cheeks, and lips plump as stawberry. Her eyes, did mind one to the flashe of the Robin's breast as he alighted, so blue they were. Tresses, so dark, the raven was filed with envy. Were not her winsome ways noticed by those about, and was not their talk of the Earl himself asking of her ? Did not her bosom heave when news of his interest came to her ?
But it came to pass that Master Turnip, once a man of some repute with a field made well by toil and fortune, did ask her father for her hand in marriage. Master Turnip. Nay, we shall not dwell on unfortunate happstances....
He does pass words with the monks in the Abbey, and look for ease , Mistress Turnip doth begg him not to join the monks as a man of our Lord, for how will she feed herself and her child ? His toil is little, but what to do ? they be just enough for vittals and for some meagre asides. It is true we are blessed, but please, I beseeech thee, do not make now your reside the abbey. Her words fall on ears not pleased to hear such ordinary truths....
The child ? Yes, there is a girl child, born to the Turnips, some seventeen summers past. Born in agonies so cruel, that Mistress Turnip did denounce Master Turnip and her Lord as tormentors of good women in her paines of birthing. Finally, the one that would come to be known as Myfanwy came from the mother and joined the family as their only child, for Mistress Turnips entire womb did also birth along with the child, and no more would she revel in the fecundity of being with child.
Myfanwy, now as fair a maiden as her mother once was. Her walk was saucy and her smile did suggest secrets. There was talk in the village, sideways glances, for she was a bold child, her speech unfettered by social restraint, her ways wanton. The young swains did gather as Myfanwy passed them on her errands. They doffed their caps, and threw flowers at her feet, and is the way, she became puff'ed in her opinion, mindless of those about her.
Her mother, the Mistress Turnip did denouce her slattenly ways about which she did her work. You will not marry Myfanwy, and thus bring shame upon the Turnip name, for can you yet clavvern the grate, or boyle the meate proper ? Nay ! I say not ! Now, bringest me that clothe and tincture of antimony and I will show thoust again the way perish the vermin that invade our home.
Her skirt of rough clothe dragging in the mud, her head bowed deep, Mistress Turnip left the hapless girl to her task, and did collect the slops, for was there not swine to feed ? And fields to plough ? Yeah, verily, time did not halt in it's creeping journey, and duty and life's sorrows did be a cross for her to bear.